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Let’s Talk About…Politics (Not Really)

Hey! I’m back! I took a little longer off than I expected off due to unforeseen circumstances (I broke my computer, school, illness, etc.) Anyway, I’m here now and I’m ready to get back to the poetry stuff and the blog stuff. *I really hope to get back to a consistent schedule too.*

Since the last time I posted it’s been New Years Day, Valentines Day, and a bunch of other days. One of the most memorable days this year is the U.S.A. inauguration day, but I’ll get to the politics part in a minute. Since I’ve been gone for so long, I wanted to touch on something that I was planning to post about in January. (See above for reasons why it didn’t happen) I’ll probably talk about it more in depth next post, but I wanted to tell you guys what my New Year’s resolution was…I’M READING THROUGH THE ENTIRE BIBLE IN A YEAR! So far it’s been going pretty great and I’m loving doing it. I highly recommend starting a bible reading challenge if you have never tried one.

Now to the politics stuff…sorta. The title of this post is “Let’s Talk About Politics”, but today’s thoughts are only inspired by the current U.S.A. political situation. Today, I want to talk about how we should treat the authority in our lives. All this applies to any sort of leadership in our lives, but my main focus today is political leaders.

There are a lot of very strong opinions about the political discourse in the United States currently. Especially about President Trump. There have been riots, petitions, and anything you can think of that people are using as a way to get their opinions about the United States leadership heard. I fully believe in the freedom of speech. Everyone has the right to express their beliefs peacefully and respectfully, but when it goes past peaceful and respectful there is a problem. No one has the right to be disrespectful to the people who have been appointed as leadership over them. Something I saw that made me really angry was #notmypresident because it shows a blatant disrespect for the authority God appointed over the country. And yes, God appointed President Trump as the leader. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” There is a reason that person who is in power has that position, and we have no idea how God can and will use them during there time in power. You don’t have to love everything your authority says, does, or believes in. However, you do have to respect their laws and rules, if they are reasonable. In the end they are doing what they believe is best for the people they are leading. God can use our leaders to influence entire populations. We don’t want to hinder what God is trying to do through them by shaming or refusing to follow them. Hebrews 13:17 says, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.”

The question is…How can we help our leaders if we want them to lead their people to God? We should pray for our authority, every single day. That is how we can best help them. If we are fairly certain that they are not Christ-followers, then we should pray that God uses the Christians they encounter to point them towards the Lord. We can pray that the Lord will work in their lives, and that they accept him and use his guidance to lead their country to God. Whether they are Christians or Non-Christians we can pray that the Christ-followers in power along side them can help them to seek the Lord’s guidance. Pray that they will listen to promptings from God when they are making decisions. If your country elects leaders pray that strong, Godly people are elected into positions of power. Pray that your leaders will turn entire populations back to God.

That all being said, if the person in charge does or tries to make you do things that go against God’s commandments, follow God. Acts 5:29 says, “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”” God is in control of who he puts in leadership, but we are in control of whether we stand up when we see our leaders pointing us away from Christ. If going against our earthly authority leads to a furthering of God’s kingdom, then by all means we should do what God is commanding us to do. Take for example countries that ban Christianity and/or the Bible. Many missionaries sneak into those countries regularly to give Bible and preach about the gospel to people who aren’t allowed by their earthly authority to learn about God. They may be breaking the law, but they are doing what is favorable in God’s eyes. They risk everything to get the word of God out into the world, but they will be rewarded for it in eternity. Even Jesus did this during his time on Earth. He was hung on a cross for breaking the rules set in place by the religious authorities, but he did nothing wrong in God’s eyes. We can have a healthy respect for all the authority put in place to rule over us, but I also believe that sometimes God puts ungodly authority in place to see if his people will rise up and stand up for what is right in his eyes. Just remember, even when we do this, it is a respectful disobedience driven by a righteous anger for the sinful things done by the authority. We don’t get to disobey just for the sake of rebelling.

I want to encourage you to be supportive of those who lead you. I pray that we will all remember who appointed them there, and that we will pray that God will use them to further his kingdom, with God’s guidance their leadership could lead entire populations to Christ.  My challenge for you guys as well as myself is to pray for our leadership consistently, particularly the leaders of our countries. The more we pray the more God works and that’s really awesome. I also pray that we will stand up for what is right and Godly in a world full of wrong. I want to encourage those of you who are under leadership or in a place that tries to keep you from following God. Always remember God is your highest authority, and he is always working for the good of his children. So, stand up for your faith and follow God every step of the way.

Also, I have two recommendations. The first is the book God’s Smuggler. It is a true story about the journey of an Undercover missionary, like the ones I was talking about earlier. My second recommendation is for those who are interested in becoming the Godly leaders of the next generation. Check out Student Leadership University. They are super invested in developing the next generation of leaders. and it’s an awesome experience

Thank you guys for reading! It truly means a lot. I’m so thankful for the opportunity I have to create my Spoken Words { don’t forget to check out today’s video 😉 } and blog posts. I love you all very much.

-Jess

Bible Verses about Respecting Authority

  • Romans 13:2-5
  • Titus 3:1
  • 1 Peter 2:18
  • Matthew 28:18

This Week’s Spoken Word: HERE 

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas Everyone! I took a few weeks off to focus on my church’s Christmas production, but I’m back now and better than ever. Christmas is tomorrow and I am so excited! I’m sure you are too. Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year and I love getting to study Jesus’ birth every year.

When I was trying to think of what I wanted to write about this Christmas I kept getting drawn back to Zechariah and Elizabeth. They’re not the most prominent people involved in the Christmas story, but their story is still extremely important and there are tons of lessons to be gleaned from it. So, I think this year I’m going to take a nontraditional route and talk about them.

Let’s talk about Zechariah first. He’s not the first person I think about when I think of the Christmas story, but as I was studying this past week, I thought it was really cool reading about how God worked in his life. Zechariah was a priest and if you asked anyone I’m sure they would have told you he was close with God. I mean, when God spoke to him he was performing a sacred ritual in the temple. That’s pretty close. However, what we discover quickly is that he and God may have had a great relationship, but there was still a part of him that was very human and closed off to God. He and Elizabeth had prayed for a baby for years and years, and at this time of this story they were old and had given up hope. At some point, they stopped believing that God could or would give them a baby. When, an angel came to Zechariah and told him they were going to have a child, and that he would be a prophet that went before God’s son, Zechariah was absolutely shocked. Just like anyone else, even though he walked with God and trusted him with his life, he doubted that this could really make the impossible happen.I thought this was a pretty normal reaction, but I think I forgot that God can do anything, just like Zechariah.

God’s response to his doubt was to make him mute until his son, John, was born. I was completely and utterly confused about God’s reason for this until I was doing the She Reads Truth study, and one of the authors explained the reason. He cared about Zechariah so much that he made him mute so that he could work on encouraging him to release that last little bit of his heart to him. I’ve noticed God do this with me before, as well. He’s never made me mute, but he has allowed me to get sick or injured, so I would have to stay home and have the time to make my relationship right with him. God doesn’t want us to suffer, but sometimes it’s necessary to help us pull our focus. It’s okay to doubt, worry, and question, but what’s important is that we come back to God. When we do come back we should have a similar reaction to Zechariah. When John was born and his voice returned to him, his first reaction was to praise God and tell everyone about what God had done for him and his family. That should be our reaction after every encounter we have with God. Essentially that’s all the time, because everything around us is something God created and has blessed us with.

I also love Elizabeth, his wife. She was one of Mary’s relatives and her faith was as strong as her husband’s. Elizabeth is a great example of how we should act in the presence of God, and how we should stand up for our faith. Mary came to visit her after she became pregnant with Jesus and the entire encounter was incredible. Elizabeth recognized the presence of Jesus immediately, even her baby jumped in her womb. Elizabeth was awed that she got the honor to be in the presence of Jesus, even when he was still in the womb. She felt unworthy and excited. Elizabeth is a great example of how we should react anytime we get to spend time in the presence of God. We should come with reverence, awe, and excitement.

Elizabeth also stood up for what God told her to do even when her friends and neighbors thought she was crazy. Everyone thought she should name her son after her husband, since it was the tradition at the time. However, Elizabeth knew that she should do what God commanded, and she named her baby John. We should always be like Elizabeth. The world will think we are insane for some of our actions, but none of that matters if what we are doing is God’s will.

 I believe their story greatly impacted Mary. The angel told Mary about Elizabeth when she questioned how she would get pregnant and assured her that nothing is impossible with God. I’m also going to go out on a limb and assume that Mary’s visit with Elizabeth helped calm any of her fears. Without Zechariah and Elizabeth I believe that Mary would have never have been as at peace as she was throughout her pregnancy.

Because of their faith, Zechariah and Elizabeth were blessed beyond measure. They both got to meet Jesus, in the flesh. Even in their old age, God blessed them with a son. Not only that, their son became one of the greatest prophets of the New Testament, best known as John the Baptist. We all have a lot to learn from their story, not just that we should remain faithful through any trials like they did when they were praying for a baby. We can learn from Zechariah’s story that we should always be strengthening our relationship with God, even when we are walking close because we can always get closer. He also shows us how we should react when God blesses us. We can learn how we should approach God  with reverence and awe from Elizabeth. We can also follow her lead and stand up for our faith just like she did.

I hope during this last week of the holiday season and beyond we can all keep these lessons in mind. I’m praying for you all and, as always, I ask that you pray the same for me.

Merry Christmas

-Jess

This Week’s Spoken Word: HERE

  • Luke 1:5-25; 39-45; 57-66